Senegal’s Ruling Coalition Claims Win but Opposition Rejects

People line up to cast their ballot for legislative elections in Dakar, Senegal, Sunday, July 31, 2022. The West African nation is holding legislative elections, a vital test for opposition parties trying to minimize ruling party influence before 2024 presidential elections amid worries President Macky Sall may seek a third term. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

Senegal’s ruling coalition says it has won 30 of 46 departments in Sunday’s legislative election, giving it a majority over the opposition.

The head of the ruling coalition and former Prime Minister Aminata Toure claimed the victory late Sunday.

“Of the 46 departments in Senegal, we won 30 departments. So we gave a large majority to our president,” said Touré.

The head of President Macky Sall’s coalition, Benno Bokk Yaakar, stressed that the information is “precise, accurate, fair and not invented” with wins in Senegal’s North, West and Central areas.

“We congratulate all the citizens who voted for us,” said Yaakar.

The mayor of Dakar, Barthelemy Dias, denounced the results, claiming that “the opposition won the elections” and calling on the youth to mobilize to “preserve their victory.”

Official provisional election results are expected later this week. The Autonomous National Electoral Commission, the body responsible for monitoring and supervising the elections, declared that the ballot took place in peace and calm.

About 6.8 million voters were expected at the polls to elect 165 deputies to the National Assembly. The opposition has focused its campaign on the need to vote against the ruling coalition to prevent Sall from trying to secure a third term in the 2024 presidential elections.

Senegal’s political atmosphere is tense. Violent protests broke out last year after Sall’s main opponent, Ousmane Sonko, was arrested on rape charges and more than a dozen people were killed. Sonko, who came in third in the 2019 election, denies the allegations and his supporters have been vocal about their opposition to the president.

This year, Sonko and another of Sall’s prominent opponents were disqualified as candidates, sparking more widespread anger and protests in which three people died in June.

Senegal, with a population of 17 million, is known for its stability in West Africa where there have been coups in three countries since 2020 and where leaders have changed laws in order to remain in power for third terms.

Anger has grown in the region amid economic worries as prices for fuel and food have skyrocketed due to the war in Ukraine.

– Babacar Dione, AP News

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